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Whale to humanity: I have a name, you know. April 11, 2011

Posted by Robot Shakespeare Co in Awesome.
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So it turns out that whales have names for each other.

That’s what Dalhousie University researchers have determined by listening in on the clicks sperm whales make:

“Originally, we thought it was like a ‘hello.’ What we found, though, was that individuals each have a particular way of doing it,” says Whitehead.

One whale’s click, click (pause) click, click, click is another whale’s rapid-fire four clicks before a weightily delivered final click.

Sperm whales live in small groups of six to 10, with the females staying together in the same group for life. This tight-knit family life makes it more likely that the whales are able to tune in and identify each other.

“It seems that they are listening to the time delays between the click to see how big the nose is: ‘That is a 4.5-metre nose so it must be Fred’,” says Whitehead. “It only works with relatively few animals,” he adds.”

Also, dolphins have distinctive whistles for each individual.   This research is just beginning, really.  It’s feasable that in our lifetimes we will have ways to speak dolpin, whale, and maybe elephant.  It gets no more awesome than that.

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